Oh … Hello there

Remember me? Thought I’d forgotten all about you? Feeling lost, ignored, abandoned? All of the above? 

Well, here I am! And, hear I am, too… Just to be punny. The last few months have been lots of fun for Bruce and I, and we count our blessings daily. We have traveled to beautiful and interesting places, met great people along the way, made new friends… Life is good! Enjoying the journey is the main thing. So, perhaps I’ll give you a kick start to energize the blogging juices… get em flowing again.
Our small world expands so much when we go to a different area. Leaving our home in the southeast for the desert southwest opened new horizons. Mountains, wide open expanses, amazing rock formations, ancient geology with petroglyphs telling the story … Truly mind opening.
We visited northern Arizona in the fall, and took in canyons (including the Grand), volcanic landscapes, cliff dwellings, and so much more. Learning as we go along and meeting great people make it so special. Between us we took over 3 thousand pictures in the 2 weeks we were there. Excessive perhaps, but hey… We like it. Miles of hiking trails were discovered and enjoyed.
Another trip to Northern California was equally heart and mind opening. Spending time in San Francisco is a big favorite for us, and becoming very comfortable. The Presidio, Marin county, Tony’s Pizza in North Beach, favorite bridge overlooks… love that town!
On to Bodego Bay, home of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. The old schoolhouse looks the same, the church steeple in the background adds to the whole remembered movie look. The general store had lots of fun stuff… including Hitch himself, looking stuffed. Traveling north to Mendocino, a perfectly lovely town that I had always wanted to visit. Rocky windswept coastline, a lighthouse, shops, good food, and 3 nights at a charming B n’ B overflowing with ambience and hospitality. Heading north again to see some redwoods, we stopped at Humbolt State Park and were miniaturized among the giants. Our luck held and we enjoyed good weather… considering it could have been rainy and foggy everyday, we consider ourselves blessed. At some point, I may even add a few of our pictures here. Or not, we’ll see.
Back at home, we enjoyed watching “The Birds” on Netflix with the additional interviews and “making of” stuff…. what fun to see where we had just been!
so, of course we are already planning out next trips. Oregon! The annual Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention is in Portland. And, as usual, we will extend that to a couple weeks of fun touring.
Can’t wait to see what adventures await.

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Another one for the birds!

Bruce and I are renewing an interest in birding. We’ve been on a few expeditions lately, both on our own and with a group. Yesterday we spent a lot of time at Santee National Wildlife Preserve, hiking through the woods, listening and watching for birds. It was pure joy for me to hear all the chattering – even being able to tell he difference in bird calls. My CI has made such a difference in all that I do, but sometimes it’s the simple and subtle sounds that add so much richness.

We finally spotted the beautifully colorful Painted Bunting – after traipsing all over the trails, he was at the feeder at the Visiter’s Center eating Millet Seed. Ah well, the hike was amazing.

 

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May 18th…

Well, today is the one-year anniversary of Mom’s passing into Heaven. So much has happened, such an eventful year – one filled with so much emotion. Losing our parents is a life passage, and such a hard one to bear. Just when you think the worst is passed, something reminds you.

But, life is for the living, and Bruce and I are having so much fun at this stage of our lives! We enjoy so many new adventures – always looking forward to the next one.

We have worked hard on the house & yard to make our nest shine with the things we enjoy. We spend time with friends & family (well, not nearly enough time!) Bruce is one of those very articulate, smart, and empathetic guys who can talk to anyone on any level about anything! It’s always interesting to be in on the conversations – especially now that I have my CI! What a difference that makes! AND – my CI with ClearVoice really rocks my world. July will mark 2 years since my CI surgery, hard to believe it’s been that. It was really a decision that changed my life in so many ways – as well as the lives of those near & dear to me.

Our summer plans are fast approaching, let the good times roll!

 

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Spring is in the air — and it’s almost summer already

Well, part time blogger seems to fit – for now, anyway! I don’t have the time or inclination to be as frequent as some of my HJ & FB friends… maybe I’m not as interesting as they are! I do bore myself sometimes, so, I guess that’s it. Seems too narcissistic to write about myself very often, and since this is mainly a journal for myself, this seems to work for me. Part time is very flexible!

A lot has happened since last fall, I’ll do a quick recap. As far as Mom’s house and all her many treasures – I continued to go through her things until I was confident that I had looked at everthing – and then I arranged for an estate sale. The sale was just before Christmas, and was somewhat draining, emotionally. All her stuff was just laid out on big tables, very professional but very impersonal. All that did not sell was either taken to a consignment place or Goodwill… after I and the rest of the family had already taken a lot of stuff. The house was emptied, repainted, repairs made and put up for sale. Amazingly, it sold after just 3 weeks on the market to a very nice lady who, I hope, will love living there. Done! It is now a year since her stroke, and the 1 year anniversary of her passing is coming up soon. She will have Mother’s Day in Heaven with her own Mom, and so many other loved ones. I miss her everyday, but I think the grief is softer and not as sharply stabbing my heart. Time heals, so they say. Guess that’s right, as it should be.

My vertigo issues seem to have ended – knock wood! My last episode was in August, and it was a mild one. I had 4 appointments for Vestibular Rehab, and found it very helpful. I don’t think my balance is quite where it used to be or, where I would like it to be – but it is much improved, and for that I am very happy and very grateful.

We have also done a lot of traveling over the winter –  fun and interesting time in California, partly for business, partly for fun. It was a great chance to see and do a lot from LA to San Francisco. We drove the whole length of HWY 1 from the Bay Area to LA, spent almost a week in SF and saw almost all that I had wanted to see, hung out in LA and did a lot of touristy stuff — a food tour! All really fun and interesting. Between the 2 of us and 2 cameras, we took about 2,000 pictures! So, that was a chore to get them weeded out and organized. Still fine tuning and posting on FB.

And, oh yeah – pictures! Mom & Dad had over 30 Kodak Carousel slide boxes (after Mom had already weeded them out a couple years ago) I set up with the projector in the guest room and got it down to 11 slide boxes, and a few less boxes of photos covering decades of family, friends, camping trips, holidays, and a life well lived. I still will try to transfer videos to disc, slides to disc, and scan photos… an ongoing project .

We have been busy as we always aare with Spring cleanup and yard stuff — getting ready for the summer months is always a chore in the yard. We always try to simplify, but then just get more plants to care for… oh well, the yard does look great! Bruce’s Spring allergies were compounded with a really bad kidney stone attack… just awful, but thankfully short lived. So far, so good. He passed a few small ones, and seems over it.

As of a few weeks ago, I now have Clear Voice software for my CI .. amazing technology that was long anticipated by me and every one else at AB. Finally got the go with FDA approval, and it’s so much fun to see my HJ buddies getting it hooked up and loving it. A truely remarkable technology that suppresses backround noise and making speech more clear. I’m a big fan, and really notice the difference in the car, at a noisy restaurant, or other noisy situations. Our local CI center annual picnic was just after I got CV, so – that was another situation where it seemed to help. My appointment was just before a HJ and FB friend  got her CV- so, we met in person for the first time, and then went to lunch. So nice meeting her, and comparing notes on our AB CI’s, and the new CV. Bionic sisters!

Our Plans over the next few months include going to Providence RI for the 2012 HLAA conference. It was so much fun last year in DC, and I just loved meeting up with my HJ buddies. This year, many of the same folks will be there, plus new friends to meet. I’m excited. We also plan to go west in August to meet my brother and sister in law. Flying into Vegas, then 2 weeks taking them to our favorite places – Bryce and Zion National Parks, The Grand Canyon’s North rim, and enjoying the desert Southwest. Since we lived in Vegas for 4 years, we love these places – P & N have never been, so it will be really fun to share the excitement with them. There is nothing like that first view of the Grand Canyon … just takes your breath away.

People continue to ask me how I’m enjoying my retirement… I never even think about my 2 careers anymore, we just enjoy the freedom of being able to be spontaneous. And I am so grateful to be living this life we are now enjoying. I count my blessings everyday. We are very aware of the time passing so quickly, and how things happen unexpectedly that change your life in a moment. We try to keep a positive perspective and be open to what life brings us.

 When will the next post be? Ahhh— who knows when the mood will strike. Guess I’d rather live it than write about it very often. 

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Happy Halla-ween!

Well, guess I’m just a part-time blogger… maybe I’m on the once a month (or so…) plan for updating. This has been such a crazy time, not at all how I envisioned retired life would be.

We did get to Glacier National Park, and up to Alberta Canada where we had an amazing time. Waterton, Banff, and Jasper National Parks in Canada were gorgeous beyond description. We saw and did so much in our 2 weeks, and took a ridiculous number of pictures with our new Canon and the old Sony cameras… more than 2,000! Jeez! We are still sorting, deleting, organizing, etc. We planned and anticipated this trip for so long, it turned out to  be every bit and more than we thought it would be. Interestingly, we met up with a very nice couple from MN whose daughter wears an AB CI. It was fun comparing notes on that.

On that subject, I now have a new audie, Abby has moved on to a new position. My last appointment was for the usual testing and re-mapping. I think it went well, although it seems like I have been in a rut (or, perhaps plateau) hearing wise. I need to break out the direct connect and see how I do with that. I have had absences from HJ when I have been away or just too busy. Then I try like crazy to get caught up!

And about that “away”… we just returned from an unplanned trip to CO and SD. We flew into Denver, and spent a few days with Bruce’s brother and family there. We drove our rental car up to Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. Since we hadn’t been there in years, it was especially pretty to see it now with fall colors. We have never seen so many elk! Amazing! And — I heard them calling to each other. We (B & I, and Brian & Nancy) drove from Greeley to Rapid City, SD where we went through his sister’s apartment. Sorting what to save, donate, clean, and empty the apartment. His sister will be in re-hab, and then some kind of assistive place. The stroke left her partially incapacitated. While in Rapid City, we had dinner with some cousins and an Aunt… it’s always nice to catch up! We also made time to go to our favorite spots there, including Custer State Park. The buffalo are putting on their winter coats, and we saw so many there. We always love to go there, so, it was a great time. The drive through Wyoming is so interesting to us… wide open plains, and so many antelope sightings! We stayed a couple extra days there just to do some fun things. We drove up to Devils Tower before heading back to CO. Since we hadn’t been there in about 25 years, it was just gorgeous. Back to Greeley, we got caught in a snowstorm. That heavy, wet, tree snapping king of snow that comes early in the season while leaves are still on the trees.

We’ve had some home-improvements completed – installed paving stones on the screened in porch to match the outside patio. We just love it! We also had built-in shelves installed in the dining room as a display area for the vintage china and glass (mostly Mom’s)

So, after all our adventures, we plan to be home for a while. I am just about ready to get the estate sale in motion, then have whatever painting and repair work done at Mom’s place. We’ll get it on the market to sell… and that will be the end of it. *sigh* . We are just about done with all the stuff there… we’ve made many swaps of her stuff for ours, so now the sale will be a combination of 2 households. I do love having her things her in my home. Her lovely, tidy, and familiar home is not remotely the same anymore… but it’s still hard to move on. Will missing my Mom ever get easier?

This will be a busy couple of weeks – Bruce has jury duty, I have an appointment for “Vestibular Rehab” – to hopefully work on the balance and vertigo issues. Should be interesting!

Perhaps I’ll be a better blogger… perhaps not. But, good intentions should count for something!

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August already? What a summer…here’s a recap!

It seems like my meager blogging skills have dried up and blown away… Since April things have just been so crazy, busy, happy, and sad, and all over the place emotionally. After such a great birthday weekend in Greenville where we managed to pull off a classic surprise for Mom with Phil & Nancy showing up at a sidewalk cafe… it was just so perfect, Nancy & I agreed that we could never have imagined how great the timing was, and Mom was just ecstatic with happy tears.

All too soon after that was her stroke, seemingly endless days at her side at Hospice… then she was gone. Two beautiful services, one here, one in Wilmette… and since then, all the details of her estate. Barb & Phil came for a long weekend of going through her things, making choices and decisions regarding what to keep. Since then, I have spent at least a couple of days a week at her house. We will eventually have an estate sale of the remainder of the stuff, but first I have tocontinue sorting through things. I can’t just turn it over to someone else without first going through all drawers, boxes, closets, etc myself. I found 3 baby bracelets (ours!) in a box of old hankies… they could have been lost. Grandma’s tatting in a box of sewing stuff… it goes on and on. Being at Mom’s house so much with all of her treasures around me seems both painful and comforting all at once… I just miss her so much. That Mother-Daughter bond was always so strong.

So – vertigo. Yes, a couple more episodes. One relatively mild one while Phil & Nance were here and Mom was in hospice. Knocked me flat for a couple days. Then a much worse one in late June. Always awful, but that was a really nasty one. I did have an appointment with my ENT, Dr M. He knows me well, and he believes that it’s Labyrinthitis, not BPPV as I had thought. So, I keep a supply of Meclizine and mild Valium on hand. I also have some head and neck movement exercises to try to improve balance. I’m trying to stay active, not sit too long in one position, etc. I sense that another vertigo attack is lurking in the background preparing to strike out at me at the most inopportune time. If there is ever a good time for nausea and dizziness, it seems to happen at the worst!

On a happy note, Bruce and I went to DC in Mid-June for the HLAA convention. What a blast it was! Getting to meet in person with so many of my HJ friends was such a blessing for me. I cried when I first got there (Boo hoo – happy tears!) and again when we left (Boo hoo – sad tears!) So soon after losing Mom, I was still very emotionally on edge. We had one day to look at the Smithsonian Museums, and had a great time wandering around. So much to see, with so little time. But it was a delight to bond with my Bionic Sisters, take a million pictures and post to FB. We also went as a group to see a captioned performance of “Wicked” at the Kennedy Center. It blew us away!  Next year the conference will be in Providence, RI… already looking forward to that one! It was a really good break for us after the memorial services, and before all the estate stuff got so intense.

We are now in the process of researching a vacation for next month… hoping to go to Glacier National Park and up to Calgary. We wanted to go a couple of years ago while we were in WA with Tom & Carol, but it didn’t work out. Instead we went to BC and drove the Selkirk Loop from Idaho… that was an absolutely gorgeous and very memorable vacation. I feel like the vertigo has taken a toll on my balance and gait… I want to enjoy these adventure trips while I can still do some of the active things we so enjoy.

So, the plan is to continue going through Mom’s house, make some exchanges of things there for some of my things here (washer/dryer, living room couch, etc). Prepare for and have the estate sale, and finally, put the house up for sale. Mom just loved it there, so it will be sad to see it go.

We know that she is with Daddy in Heaven, and I am glad that she didn’t suffer with some prolonged and painful illness or injury.

But selfishly, I just want more time with her. I want to hear her sing and laugh. I want to hear her tell some more family stories which she loved to so, and I have heard so many times… just once more.

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July News

Well… so much has happened in the last few months, it’s hard to know where to start. Some good, some not, and some very sad. Starting with the worst – the sad news – so very sad. My Mom had a massive stroke on 5 May, and did not recover. The damage to her poor brain was so great that there would be no meaningful recovery, no quality of life for her, and no communication. Mom had made her wishes very clear to the family, and there was no question of feeding tubes, etc to prolong her life. After several tests at the stroke center over 2 days, they confirmed for us that her brain was very very badly damaged. She opened her eyes a bit and she did squeeze my hand a couple of times right at first. I felt that she saw and recognized me twice during the first 2 days. Her ability to speak was gone. After that, she just got weaker and less responsive. We moved her to the Hospice facility where she was so well taken care of, the staff there were all so kind. And there she passed away on 18 May at the age of 83. We were all so heartbroken… I miss her so much, and feel like there is still a hole in my heart.

We are all grateful that she did not suffer, she felt no pain, and did not have time to be afraid. The stroke was so sudden, it was just an instant of there and then not there. Since she was luckily with a neighbor when it happened, she got immediate help. That was such a blessing that she was not alone, and we are all so thankful for that.

We had 2 very beautiful memorial services for her – one here in SC for friends and some family, and another larger service in Wilmette. It was nice to see so many old friends and family there. We gathered together a bunch of old and new pictures and Bruce made a video with music. It was beautiful, and very touching… we played it after both services, and everyone just loved seeing it. She is now with Daddy in Heaven. It is comforting to me to know that they are once again together, strong, healthy, and at peace. Hers was a life well lived, with love, joy, and such a wonderfully positive spirit.

We are in the process of going through all of her belongings, all financial stuff, and all the endless details that have to be completed at the end of a life. My siblings will be here in a couple of weeks to help go through things at her house. I am doing what I can before they get here.

This post was intended to be just a quick overview of several events that have happened since I last logged on… I will get back to that another day…

 

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Beautiful Spring Day

We are really enjoying our SC Spring weather! Right now, there is a gorgeous riot of color everywhere you look with so many things in full bloom. I’ve been taking lots of pictures, and I’m even thinking of “springing” for a new faster camera with better zoom than my Sony. The Azaleas are making a grand show, as are the Wisteria (Lilac colored and sweet-smelling), Dogwood, Lady Banks Roses, white trailing Spirea. The Flowering Redbuds are out also. Iris & Daffodils, and so many others are showing off and competing for attention.

 I went for a walk yesterday morning while B. was at the “Y”… the field behind our neighborhood is pretty quiet, and I was hoping to get some good shots of the birds there. Well, I didn’t see many since they seem to stay low in the bushes, but I sure did hear them! And – that was so cool! Something I will never tire of is birdsong. My new ear and the new setting really brings it in. Today is rainy, but we saw Goldfinch at the feeder for the first time in years. Their vivid yellow and black feathers are so striking.

My retirement will be in late April or early May… at long last, I’m ready to pull the plug! I thought I wasn’t ready, but now I am – and pretty excited about it. There are so many things to look forward to, and having fun with my Hubby is #1!

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Life is good…

Life is good when you feel good! Wow, what a revelation! Who knew! Well, perspective is everything, and mine was down when I felt crappy. Feeling better – better perspective. Anyway, I will make an effort to keep a better perspective next time I feel crappy (And, eventually, that will happen).

The last bout with vertigo, even though it was much less severe that the initial attack took a week to disappear. The mind over matter  attempt didn’t work. Today at work I really noticed the difference in how I was moving around, and even looking up to reach a shelf over my head. No dizziness! Yay!

We are enjoying early spring weather here. Things are popping out, birds are nesting and laying tiny little eggs in the flower baskets. Perfect! Bruce is starting his yard cleanup and planning the layout of the garden beds for the summer. We always say we will simplify, but one thing leads to another… Who can resist the beautiful displays of plants & flowers at the nursery! Not us!

Hey! Is someone actually reading my drivel?

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Vertigo is back

Oh – I am so bummed out, and I truly hate this!

 I woke up on Sat morning to another but less severe attack of vertigo. Spent the day (oh yeah, like I didn’t have something better to do on a beautiful Saturday?) feeling very dizzy , nauseous, etc. I did feel a bit better on Sunday, and felt hopeful of feeling even better on Monday. The Meclazine that I took to combat the dizziness makes me very sleepy, so, I slept a lot.

Probably was a mistake to go in to work today… I walked around like a drunk, still very off-balance. We’ll see about going in to work tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m going to ask for a follow-up appoint with my GP, who may give me a referral to a specialist.

Did I mention that I really hate this??  😦

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